Press Release Computer Graphics

Film pioneers again choose Wellington

Wellington has, again, proved to be the city of choice for international film pioneers. Global film and technology start-up, 8i, have announced today that they have chosen to base their headquarters in Wellington.

8i is pioneering a whole new way of recording and experiencing content using the Oculus Rift virtual reality head-mounted display. We call this new medium Holographic Virtual Reality™.

The public have become fans of 3D technology but continue to seek more immersive experiences. With 8i’s Holographic Virtual Reality™ people will be able to watch immersive recorded content at home using the Oculus Rift.

“It’s like stepping into a movie, it feels like magic” said Linc Gasking, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of 8i.

This technology is set to revolutionise movie-making and media watching experiences.

“Over the last 100 years we’ve gone from images, to moving images, to sound, to colour to stereoscopic 3D. 8i’s technology offers another major leap forward in the evolution of media,” said Gasking.

8i is to acquire deep technology that has been two years in development with very positive and substantial commercial applications.

“8i now intends to transition this secret sauce into a commercialisation phase and we are pleased to announce that Sparkbox Ventures, New Zealand’s leading early stage investor, have confirmed their intention to invest,” says Gasking.

A string of international 3D blockbusters have been made in Wellington, including The Hobbit Trilogy and Avatar. 8i’s decision to base its headquarters in Wellington is a reflection of the quality of talent and technology that has been developed in the movie making-capital over the last decade. 8i are assembling a world-class team in Wellington.

“Wellington is the perfect place to scale this company. There are so many world leaders in visual effects and digital media here. Wellington is the 3D capital of the world,” says Gasking.

Grow Wellington Chief Executive, Gerard Quinn, says the region is fast developing a reputation for being a leader in high tech, "Wellington has the greatest number of New Zealand's fastest-growing high tech businesses and is a hub for this thriving, collaborative and dynamic sector. That's bringing top talent to the region and Grow Wellington is working hard to ensure more and more talented people overseas know of the exciting opportunities here.”

Connect for more information or to working at 8i at 8i.com

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The four founders’ biographies

Linc Gasking
CEO/Co-Founder

Linc Gasking has been a pioneer at the intersection of media, technology and start-ups for the past twenty years. He is a regular speaker and thought leader on creativity, start-ups, entrepreneurship, and building sustainable start-up ecosystems and digital communities.

Linc co-founded film and technology start-up CountingDown.com from Melbourne in 1998. In 2000, CountingDown was acquired by Pop.com (Steven Spielberg, Jeffrey Katzenberg, David Geffen, Paul Allen, Brian Grazer and Ron Howard) for $23M, which was a precursor to Netflix and YouTube.

Linc co-founded Free Range Limited with Joshua Feast in 2013, where they produced and hosted Conversations in NZ for Horizons Ventures (part of the Li Ka Shing Foundation owned by Li Ka Shing, Asia’s richest person) including Mary Meeker of Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Byers to present New Zealand’s most promising startups. Following this, Linc undertook six months of intensive research visiting twenty start-up cities around the world, culminating in a white paper on growing successful startup ecosystems.

Recently Linc was nominated as NZ Co-Director of Global Entrepreneurship Week, and is Director of the NZ Innovation Festival in 2015.

Joshua Feast
Co-Founder

Joshua is New Zealand’s first Fulbright Scholar in Entrepreneurship (holding an MBA from the MIT Sloan School of Management). Josh successfully commercialised IP from MIT’s Media Lab and launched Cogito, a thriving multi-million dollar business delivering analytic software that continuously senses human behaviour and infers psychological state. It was named a “Breakthrough idea” by Harvard Business Review, a “Technology That Will Change the World” by MIT’s Technology Review, and is also the winner of a 2012 Edison award for Applied Technology, which recognizes the most innovative products, services and business leaders in the world.

Through Cogito, Josh works with multi-nationals like Aetna and Humana, and works on R&D around mental resilience for DARPA, the US Dept of Defence's high-tech funding arm.

Sebastian Marino
Chief Creative Officer / Co-Founder

Sebastian is a world leader in computer vision and Oculus Rift cinematic application. As the co-founder of Jig Lab, Sebastian built proprietary IP which laid the groundwork for holographic content on the Oculus Rift. He is a film industry veteran with over 15 years’ experience as a technology innovator with A-list film studios such as Industrial Light + Magic, Sony Pictures Imageworks and Weta Digital.

In 2002 Sebastian received an Academy Award (Science & Technology) for inventing software that simulates the motion of cloth, musculoskeletal structures, skin and hair for feature film production.

Sebastian has made significant contributions to numerous Oscar and Visual Effects Society Award winning films, as well as some of the most successful film franchises of all time including Avatar, Spiderman, Pirates of the Caribbean, Terminator, Harry Potter, Star Wars, The Mummy & Jurassic Park.

Eugene d’Eon
Chief Scientist / Co-Founder

Eugene is a Computer Graphics Research Scientist, and a world leader in rendering. His research focuses on developing accurate and efficient light transport and reflectance models for synthesizing the most realistic imagery possible, primarily for the rendering of skin and hair.

Before cofounding 8i, Eugene spent five years at Weta Digital, where he held a lead role in the research and development of their subsurface scattering and hair reflectance systems. These have been used in films including The Hobbit, Prometheus, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, and The Adventures of Tintin.

Eugene's research bridges the gap between computer graphics and general transport theory. He is also known for his published research in other fields, including neutron transport.

Eugene’s background was originally in GPU rendering, and he spent a decade at NVIDIA, where he developed state of the art software, which continually pushed the complexity and realism boundaries of realtime rendering. He is especially well known within the computer graphics industry for his contributions towards the photorealistic rendering of human skin.

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